Wolverhampton passed an 11am inspection and racing goes ahead, although it's still some time away from our featured race, so I'll move straight to Wednesday, where "feature of the day" is the Trainer Stats report and the free racecards are for the following races...
- 12.45 Thurles
- 5.15 Kempton
With the absence of any UK jumps racing, my Trainer Stats aren't generating anything with a decent sample size to work from and the "free" Thurles race is a 7-runner affair that Willie Mullins trains four of, including a likely odds-on fav. So perhaps, I'll look at the 5.15 Kempton, eh?
It's a 9-runner, Class 5, Fillies, A/W handicap over 7f on Polytrack and the winner will receive £3429. Here's how they line up...
Vivency and Perfect Rose lead the way on form, although prior to a poor result LTO, Eponina was bang in form too. I'll have to see what happened there. As for the Geegeez ratings, they are headed by Perfect Rose, Vivency and Lady Alavesa.
Vivency has been mentioned a couple of times already and she's a lightly raced four year old filly who hasn't been out of the first three in her three starts to date. Well beaten (6L) on debut here over a mile, then beaten by a length and a quarter over 7f at Wolverhampton before going down by just half here over course and distance a fortnight ago. She was sent off at 14/1 that and was conceding 13lbs to the odds on winner, so certainly not disgraced. She was a neck ahead of a 73-rated runner that day, so whilst she bears top weight here, a handicap debut mark of 70 might still be generous.
Parikarna has probably ran well in two of her ten starts to date and has struggled of late, regularly starting slowly or missing the break. Her sole victory to date was over this trip, but that was over 15 months and six races ago and it's hard to make a case for her here.
Perfect Rose is the form horse with two runner-up finishes under her belt this year already, but they were both on Tapeta at Wolverhampton and she's still a maiden after 12 races. The Archie Watson/Hollie Doyle trainer/jockey combo is a fearsome one and I've written about it many times before (7 from 25 in C4/5 hcps here at Kempton in case you were wondering) and it's probably no coincidence that this horse's improvement has come with Ms Doyle in the saddle and the application of cheekpieces. The horse seems to carry her head awkwardly and she'll need to improve upon her previous Polytrack runs, but a definite player here.
Kodiellen is a former course and distance winner, but hasn't fared too well since, finishing 12th of 14, 5th of 13, 7th of 8 and 9th of 10 last time out going down by more than 10 lengths in each of her last two outings. She's a pound lower than that C&D success here back in September, but recent form makes her vey hard to fancy today.
Poetry And Art is another about whom it's difficult to make a case. A four-length defeat in the third of her five races to date is her best effort so far and she has been last of 13 (beaten by 46 lengths eased down) and 10th of 11 (bt by 18L) since. Although William Haggas' runners seem to be going quite well at present, his Kempton handicappers are 2 from 36 since the start of 2019 and I can't see how a step up in class helps this runner today.
Chloellie has lost each of her last five starts on the A/W, but was a creditable fourth at Southwell last time out, almost snatching a place at the death. She was slow away, was badly hampered, got little luck in running but still plugged/stayed on to get within a neck of the places at odds of 11/1. Despite that near miss she still has 7 wins and 7 further placed finishes from 27 A/W runs, including 5 wins + 6 places from 16 here at Kempton, 2 wins + 6 places from 10 over C&D, 4 wins + 2 places from 8 under today's jockey and 2 wins from 4 in January. Conditions look well set for another big run from this 6 yr old mare.
Eponina was 8th of 10 at Wolverhampton last time out, but had been in good nick (23133) in the final quarter of 2020. She ran well here when beaten by four lengths over a mile at Class 4 two starts ago and was beaten by less than a length and a half at Wolverhampton following a heavy ground 7f win at Leicester. She is, however, much better on the Flat than on the A/W but gets on really well with jockey Theodore Ladd. Past results suggest she's not a winner here, but could well make the frame at a price.
Lady Alavesa has, for a 6 yr old, been around the block a few times already. Her bare career stats aren't impressive, though : just 4 wins from 44 including just 1 from 23 on the A/W. It's over two years and 23 races since she last won with 15 of those defeats coming on the all-weather. That said, she has made the frame in four of her last seven starts and she has won 3 of 7 races over 7 to 7.5 furlongs. She has a 45% career place strike rate and such is the dearth of real quality in this race, you could see her making the frame again.
Raha is the bottom weight here, rated at just 60 before her jockey's 3lb claim kicks in and she was a winner off just 2lbs lower when scoring over this trip on soft ground at Salisbury three starts ago. She then struggled on heavy ground three weeks later at Yarmouth before a three month rest which was ended with a creditable run over class, course and distance here at Kempton 11 days ago. She was sent off at 40/1 that day, but only went down by just over 2.5 lengths. She runs off a pound lower today but will still need to improve and she doesn't scream the word consistent to me.
Several of these runners have faced each other in the past with five relevant contests...
As tends to be the case, the place element of Instant Expert tells us much more than the win version...
Chloellie is the one that catches my eye here, because she has little red on the win graphic and plenty of green on the place element and this is from a decent sample size, some of which I alluded to earlier on and it looks like ideal conditions for her. Unfortunately for her, though, she's not well drawn out in stall 8 of 9, as the end two stalls have only won 7 of the last 58 similar contests here in contrast to stalls 1 and 2 winning 19 between them...
The figures for stall 5 are a little strange from a win perspective, as the place ratio looks in line with what you'd expect, so we'll call the 6.9% SR an anomaly. Ideally you want to be drawn low here based on the above data and if you get a low draw, it pays to lead. Otherwise, you want a middling draw from which you can tuck in behind the lead, as demonstrated by our pace/draw heatmap...
Now, we already know the draw for this race, so if I overlay the past running styles of our nine runners, we should be able to work out how we see the race unfolding...
This would suggest that (in draw order) Vivency, Poetry And Art, Perfect Rose and Raha have the best pace/draw make up here, whilst Eponina is expected to attempt to get out and stay out. If she was good enough to do that, she wouldn't have failed to pull it off in each of her last eight starts, so maybe she needs a new angle of attack. That said, this field is so poor she could make the running, get caught and yet still make the frame.
I think this is Perfect Rose's race to lose. Her yard is in good form, she's in good form, her yard go well here at Kempton, her jockey rides the yard's horses well, but at 2/1 or even shorter, she's not a horse I'd want to lump on with. She beat Lady Alavesa by half a length last time out and is now a pound worse off and she hasn't got much Polytrack form to speak of and is a 12-race maiden. None of this means she can't/won't win (I expect her to!), but she'll represent poor/little value to me at sub-2/1.
Who else will be in the mix? Well, I think Eponina will try (and fail) to win the race from the front, but she's eased a little more in the weights and could well cling onto a place at 20/1, so she's an E/W possible for those who like a longer-odds punt. Other likely candidates to make the frame for me would be Chloellie and Lady Alavesa at 13/2 and 7/1 respectively, but their chances aren't aided by a poor draw. The hope is that if Eponina blasts out from stall 5, they might follow.
The one I think to give Perfect Rose a run for her money is the improving and well-drawn Vivency, everything points to a big run here and it wouldn't be a massive shock if she won here. I think I'd rather back her at 10/3 than the fav at sub-2/1.
So, I don't see much between Perfect Rose & Vivency for the win, whilst it's Chloellie (poor draw), Lady Alavesa (poor draw) or long-shot Eponina (doesn't see races out) for the place.